Jimmy Page finally moved away from his childhood home. First, he took the flat off Holland Road in Kensington. But part of the mood of the age was the need to connect communally with the essence of the earth, a need that would later be expressed by the likes of the Band, who creatively isolated themselves in Woodstock in upstate New York, and the English group Traffic, fronted by Page’s friend Steve Winwood, who wanted to ‘get it together’ in a cottage in rural Berkshire.
And it was to that same verdant county of Berkshire that Page now moved. Kenneth Grahame, author of the children’s classic The Wind in the Willows, had retired to Pangbourne, situated on the River Pang four miles west of Reading, in later life, and now Page made the village his home, buying a former boathouse on the river, water frequently being close to the homes he would purchase, solace for his Scorpio rising. Later, he would develop a reputation for being to some extent a recluse; it was here that such an existence was first nurtured, one he found creatively beneficial. ‘I really enjoyed that bachelor existence–working and creating music, and going out on my boat at night on my own; switching off the engine and just coasting in the twilight. I liked all that,’ he told the Sunday Times. His tank of tropical fish survived the journey from west London, although his long absences away on the road eventually obliged him to give up this hobby.
And anyway, Page was almost straightaway off on the road again. This time it was to the United States.
That same month, June 1966, someone else demonstrated an intriguing element of experimental good taste–unsurprisingly, given that the record was produced by Shel Talmy, Page’s longtime studio champion, a master of innovation. ‘Making Time’, the stunning, sneering tune in question, was released by a Hertfordshire group called the Creation; Eddie Phillips, the guitarist, would at times play his instrument with a violin bow. It has long been alleged that Page took note of this and copied the effect. ‘Eddie Phillips deserves to be up there as one of the great rock ’n’ roll guitarists of our time, and he’s hardly ever mentioned,’ said Talmy. ‘He was one of the most innovative guitarists I’ve ever run across. Jimmy Page stole the bowing bit of the guitar from Eddie. Eddie was phenomenal.’
However, Page claims another source for the inspiration. At the Burt Bacharach session he played on, David McCallum, Sr., another session player, who played violin with both the London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic orchestras and was father of the co-star of the hit television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E., asked the guitarist if he had tried to bow his instrument as though it were a violin. Page borrowed the violinist’s bow–a wand finding its own wizard–and had a go, in front of McCallum. ‘Whatever squeaks I made sort of intrigued me. I didn’t really start developing the technique for quite some time later, but he was the guy who turned me on to the idea.’